Last month, 20 prisoners from Pollsmoor graduated from Network’s job readiness programme, equipping them with the skills they’ll need to find employment after their release. In this post, Deborah Cuthbert takes a look at some of the obstacles ex-offenders face and how we can support them as a community.
On Freedom Day in March this year, the president caused quite a stir when he announced the early release of approximately 14 651 prisoners from prisons across the country. I’m sure many a law-abiding citizens heart skipped a beat when they heard this news. But have you ever considered that the prisoners and their families are concerned about this as well?
Let’s take a look at the story of Jo*. Jo is one of these prisoners considered for early release. He has been socialised into the prison system where virtually all decision-making has been taken away from him. Imagine being told when you must wake up and when you must go to sleep, when you must eat and when you must exercise, when you can see your family and when you can speak to your friends.All of these decisions have been taken out of Jo’s hands. He hasn’t had to make any decisions for himself. Instead, he’s learnt to constantly be on his guard, watching his back for attackers.